Sign In Forgot Password

Rabbi’s Blog: Like A Good Neighbor... OZ is There!

07/25/2022 02:42:31 PM


Dear OZ family,


Everyone knows about the life-saving work of Hatzala in many places. Their sensitivity, professionalism and prompt arrivals  save countless lives. I remember twice in one day travelling in the back of an ambulance with an elderly member of the community. First, I accompanied her in the back of a Hatzala van from her apartment on the West Side to Mount Sinai hospital, and then later on the same day on city run ambulance, from Mount Sinai to Calvary Hospital, where she spent the last weeks of her life. The two rides were profoundly different in scope and nature. At every moment, the Hatzala member asked of her welfare and assured her comfort. On the second ride, not so much. Hatzala and its members deserve our support and profound admiration, not only for what they do, but also for the way they do it.


There is another organization, called Chaverim, whose members are ready to be called on to help those with transportation needs. This includes rides, pick-ups, roadside assistance, and help for those locked out of their home. Recently, a car slowly pulled up alongside the home of our executive director, Chad Hopkovitz, in Teaneck New Jersey. Four people emerged from the car that was sidelined with a completely flat tire, for relief from the sweltering heat. Chad’s daughters brought them cold drinks and Chad called Chaverim. A car came almost as swiftly as Hatzala does, and quickly fixed the flat. This Kiddush Hashem will always be remembered, as the thankful riders commented how the Jewish people fit together like hands and a glove.


In addition to these services, our communities offer Bikur Cholim, food distributions, hospital visits, and assistance with routine chores and tasks. People may be reluctant to ask for help, but let it be known that there are those who are ready at any moment to perform chesed and consider it a benefit on their own part to be called upon to do so. The prophets of Israel berated their people for neglecting their interpersonal obligations to one another. I believe that the likes of Yeshayahu, Hoshea, Micha, Amos, and Yirmiyahu would all be very proud of how far we’ve come in this aspect of Jewish life.   


I’d like to suggest another kind of service that we can add to this arsenal of chesed, and it is a type of Chaverim for the household. Some simple chores that many of us take for granted may be overly daunting for others. Some may balk at calling a superintendent to change a lightbulb or install a window screen, that is too difficult a task for them. I remember Shimon Maier, who, with his wife, Erna, both lived over 100 years. He slipped very quickly, though, after falling from a ladder while changing a lightbulb. When I asked him why he hadn’t asked someone to do that for him, he said he didn’t want to bother anyone for such a simple task. I am asking a group of volunteers to step forward to be listed among those who will be called upon to help with such household tasks. Perhaps we can call these volunteers, Shechanim, meaning neighbors. The more challenging part may be to convince those in need to ask for assistance. The shul # at 212 749-5150 will be the place to volunteer or to place a request, or join the Community Connection WhatsApp at


Two additional opportunities for chesed are presented here. Please look for publicity we sent regarding Dr. Jay Bienenfeld’s dire need for a life-saving kidney transplant. Also, OZ has participated the last several years in the Rabin Medical Center’s annual 5K Schlep in support of breast and ovarian cancer research at the hospital. OZ took 1st prize last year in money raised and I do hope we can replicate that this year as well. Please look for publicity for this in the coming days. This year, the walk will be in Central Park on Sunday morning, August 21st.  May we all be fulfilled by the joy of doing chesed and the good will that it spreads all around.


Be safe and well.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz






Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street

New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200



Mon, May 29 2023 9 Sivan 5783